South Texas native who helped save Apollo 13 mission wins NASA naming contest

NASA allowed the public to name ‘moonikin’ flying on Artemis I Mission around moon

South Texas native who helped save Apollo 13 mission reaches finals of NASA naming contest
South Texas native who helped save Apollo 13 mission reaches finals of NASA naming contest

LAREDO, TexasUpdate: After weeks of voting, Laredoan Arturo B. Campos has won the NASA moonikin naming contest.

Original story:

A native South Texan is a finalist to have a NASA “moonikin” named after him for an upcoming mission to the Moon.

The moonikin is an anatomical model that simulates the human body and is commonly used in training for emergency rescues, medical education, and research for NASA and astronauts.

After weeks of voting, Laredoan Arturo B. Campos advanced to the final round of the moonikin naming contest.

The moonikin will be onboard the Artemis I Mission around the Moon. Artemis I will be a crewless flight test of the Space Launch System rocket and the Orion spacecraft ahead of the first flight with a crew on Artemis II.

Voting ends Monday and the final results will be announced by NASA on Tuesday.

Campos is a famous NASA engineer who is best known for his work helping save the Apollo 13 module after it suffered technical malfunctions days into the mission in April 1970. Campos wrote the contingency plan to get the astronauts onboard safely home in the module.

The Apollo 13 landing in the South Pacific Ocean was one of the most-watched live events in the history of television. Campos’s family said he earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his role in the mission.

Campos died in 2004 at the age of 66. He is remembered as being one of the few Mexican-American employees who worked at the Johnson Space Center during that era. He also pitched in on efforts to help recruit more Hispanic workers to the space program and encouraged those in his culture to pursue technical fields.

Watch: Family of Arturo B. Campos reacts to results of NASA moonikin naming contest:

Family of Arturo B. Campos reacts to results of NASA moonikin naming contest.
Family of Arturo B. Campos reacts to results of NASA moonikin naming contest.

Watch a video about the mission from NASA:


About the Authors:

RJ Marquez has been at KSAT since 2010. He's covered a variety of stories and events across the San Antonio area, and is the lead reporter for KSAT Explains. He also covers the Spurs for on-air and digital platforms. You can see RJ regularly on KSAT Explains and Good Morning San Antonio. He also writes a weekly Spurs newsletter.

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.